2016 Election Results

Nominees were asked to confirm their nomination by providing a brief statement on why they want to serve if elected. These statements, with links (if available) to the PI’s home page, are posted below. See the full College/Unit CPI seat allocations for 2016-17.

2016-17 CPI election results are noted below.

Vice Chair

  • Riggs, Penny (Animal Science) – “As a CPI representative, and a previous member of the Executive Committee, I am committed to continual improvement of the research environment for the success of principal investigators.  The CPI has an important role as a strong voice of the research faculty and investigators of the university and its agencies.  It is critical for the CPI to effectively convey faculty ideas and concerns; and to facilitate multi- and interdisciplinary collaboration among investigators by fostering communication between and among PIs, University and System administrators, and, as appropriate, our legislative representatives. The voice of the CPI can help minimize administrative and compliance burdens on investigators, drive improvements in research infrastructure, and help enhance our overall competitiveness for state, federal, and other external funding. As chair of the Research Development Fund Advisory Committee, I have worked with the committee to recommend actions that can broadly increase investigator access to new research resources.  My research background is multidisciplinary, and I’ve previously worked to bring together genomics researchers on campus. I have interacted with agencies and programs including NSF, USDA, NIEHS, ONR, and others.  I also served two terms as panel manager for a large, multidisciplinary USDA review panel during early stages of a new NIFA program.

    I am honored to be nominated for the vice chair election ballot. Despite many challenges facing researchers, now is an exciting time at Texas A&M.  If elected, my goal is to actively represent and promote the interests of the entire research community – ultimately for the goal of overall excellence and continued elevation of Texas A&M. Enabling investigator success leads not only to important research achievements with global impact, but also enhances Texas A&M’s research, teaching, extension, and service endeavors.”  

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences  

  • Stelly, David (Soil and Crop Sciences) – “I am honored by the nomination to represent the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and will enjoy the opportunity to serve as a CPI member, should I be elected. I consider CPI paramount to TAMU and TAMUS future, because CPI provides a mechanism to collate, organize and voice PI concerns, and to assure some bi-directional flow of information between PIs and administrative elements.  In my opinion, more needs to be done by the institution to foster, facilitate, economize and improve research and associated (post-) graduate research experiences, e.g., lower      bureaucratic barriers, minimize “red tape” and reduce bureaucratic minutia wherever possible,and provide low-cost optional services and facilities that can simplify, expedite and economize the research of significant numbers of faculty, staff and students, and do so in a highly equitable manner. Philosophically, I feel that we should strive to maximize the creativity of our institution at all levels, including the PIs, research staff and students. Research universities of this size and caliber offer extraordinary opportunities for “hybrid zones”. We need incessant efforts by administration and PIs to identify, create and cultivate such zones, and garner significant investments to develop those; by doing so, we will establish nationally and globally unique capabilities, highly sought-after graduates, and probably intellectual property as well. As a representative, I will gladly communicate concerns, ideas, and suggestions on behalf of College’s research faculty and overall research enterprise.”

College of Education and Human Development

  • Kwok, Oi-Man (Educational Psychology) – “The Council of Principal Investigators (CPI) plays a vital role in working with administration to facilitate effective and efficient mechanisms and practices that ensure quality and ethics in research and teaching. I support the mission of the CPI, and want to continue serving and contributing to its efforts. My research expertise is in multilevel models (MLMs) and structural equation models (SEMs), and the application of these methods to different substantive areas. Besides my quantitative research program, I am also interested in understanding the social and cognitive developmental processes of different at-risk children (e.g.,grade retained children and children with disabilities) and applying my quantitative work to these research areas. The nature and scope of our research require collaborative and interdisciplinary efforts, and I understand the need for support and coordination within and across colleges and administrative offices. By serving on the CPI, I will continue working toward improving institutional mechanisms and practices that support the interests and needs of the members of our research community.”

College of Engineering  

  • Grasley, Zachary [Zac] (Civil Engineering) – I am pleased to have been nominated for the Council of Principal Investigators at Texas A&M, and will gladly serve the university and its research community if elected. I believe the CPI plays an important role in facilitating the great research that takes place at our institution, and its significance will only increase in the coming years as funding becomes even more competitive, technological changes in research dissemination and consumption occur, and bureaucratic pressures increase. I first started as a faculty member at Texas A&M in 2006, moved to Virginia Tech in 2012, and then returned to Texas A&M in 2014. In addition to my time at a peer institution where I experienced both positive and negative differences in research support and administration versus Texas A&M, I believe I have a few other unique attributes that would make me a valuable addition to the CPI. First, while I am an associate professor and faculty fellow in civil engineering, I have a courtesy appointment in materials science and engineering, and have collaborated with faculty in other departments in the college and at TAMUQ, too. Much of my research is interdisciplinary, and I value such collaborations highly. My research publications range from very practical (in trade publications) to specialized technical, to general, fundamental physics, math, and science. I also have enjoyed breadth in my funding sources in terms of both supporting agency and scope; I have had individual projects ranging from below $50K to greater than $1M from international agencies, national agencies, national labs, regional sources, and industrial sources. The diversity of my research interests, funding levels and sources, collaborations, and background will help me communicate with and appreciate the wide range of principal investigators (and their needs) at our institution. My primary goal as a member of the CPI would be to help ensure that research administration and resources are easy to locate and readily available to all PIs when needed, while at the same time ensuring PIs would not be burdened by excessive administrative busywork so that they can focus their efforts on completing the actual research. I look forward to – and am excited about – serving the research community in this way.”
  • Lutkenhaus, Jodie (Chemical Engineering) – “I am an Associate Professor in the Artie McFerrin Department of Chemical Engineering, and I hold a courtesy appointment in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. I have been a PI on research projects from NSF, AFSOR, DOE, Welch Foundation, and private industry. I collaborate with others in the College of Science and the College of Engineering, as well as with others outside the university and in Europe. My specific research interests include the experimental investigations of polymers, composites, coatings, and energy storage. I recently finished a three-year term as my department’s EFAC (Engineering Faculty Advisory Council) representative. With these experiences, I am well-versed in the challenges and the opportunities presented to PIs at Texas A&M University. My particular interests as a potential CPI representative include Centers, OSRS, and Shared Facilities. Firstly, I believe that TAMU is well-positioned to bring in large-scale, multi-PI centers, and now is the time to leverage our resources and faculty. The last few years have seen great improvements in institutional support for pre-planning of such centers (MURI, MRSEC, etc.), and this should continue or expand. Secondly, as PI on many proposals and awards, I believe that we need to continue to strive for excellence with OSRS, which is a critical element in our proposal planning and post-award administration. Lastly, shared facilities such as the MCF and MIC play a critical role in many of our projects, and I am committed to elevating their role at our university and their long-term livelihood. In all, I am look forward to serving as your CPI representative.”

College of Geosciences

  • Orsi, Alejandro (Oceanography) – “Research in Oceanography has been a steady driving force during my time at Texas A&M University. I left my homeland to learn through research at A&M thirty years ago, and I have stayed actively involved in scientific discovery and teaching opportunities through research until today. NSF grants have continuously funded my research at A&M, as Graduate Research Assistant (M.S., Ph.D.), Postdoc (UW), Research Scientist (Ass./Assoc. /Full), and Professor. I have written successful proposals to NSF and I have carried out numerous oceanographic cruises and field experiments around Antarctica. Recent NSF grants were Collaborative Research Projects with several institutions in the U.S. and Australia, Italy, Spain, Argentina, Sweden. I am currently leading the Physical Oceanography component of the first observational study of ocean-ice interactions in an area of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet with the largest estimated melt rates and sea-level rise potential. I’m honored to be nominated to serve as a representative of the College of Geosciences in the Council of Principal Investigators; and I’m very excited with the prospect, if elected, to contribute to further improve world-class research capabilities at Texas A&M University.”
  • Plotkin, Pamela (Oceanography) – “I am currently an Associate Research Professor in the Department of Oceanography and the Director of the Texas Sea Grant College Program, headquartered at Texas A&M University. As a PI on over $2 million dollars in sponsored programs received annually, I am very familiar with Texas A&M’s research administration offices and the services they provide to faculty and staff. I interact with multiple offices regularly and am familiar with many of the challenges they have had. Prior to my current position, I served in leadership roles of research administration offices at three different universities. In these positions I administered sponsored programs offices, IACUCs, and IRBs, led faculty training and support initiatives, developed center and institute proposals, negotiated state, federal, foundation and corporate agreements, developed systems and services to meet the needs of administrators and faculty, developed policies and procedures to bring universities in compliance with federal and state regulations and reduced administrative burden for faculty. My breadth and depth of knowledge as a researcher, and as a research administrator, make me uniquely qualified to fully appreciate the needs of all stakeholders in Texas A&M’s research enterprise. If selected, I look forward to serving on the CPI on behalf of my college (College of Geosciences) and contributing to the CPI in meaningful ways that fully utilize my unique skill set and advance the goals of the CPI and the faculty at Texas A&M.”

College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences

  • Threadgill, David (Veterinary Pathobiology) – “I am a Professor in the Department of Veterinary Pathobiology in the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and have a joint appointment in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Medicine in the College of Medicine. I joined the A&M faculty in 2013 after serving on faculty at Vanderbilt University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University, where I was a department head for five years. I have been funded by grants from NSF, NIH, DOD and EPA and have served on dozens of federal review panels in addition to being an external reviewer for many departments and programs at leading research institutions, which I believe gives me unique insights into how highly competitive institutions function to support and enhance research excellence. At A&M, I am Director of the Institute for Genome Sciences and Society and a member of the Genetics and Toxicology IDPs, which has provided exposure to many of the challenges we face wen trying to increase competitiveness for federal programs, particularly in the life sciences.”

Texas A&M Baylor College of Dentistry

  • Groppe, Jay (Biomedical Sciences) – “To paraphrase the mission summary on the CPI homepage, I would like to serve as a liaison between the PIs of our college and TAMU administrative offices to allow TAM-BCD research to be conducted effectively and efficiently.  With research experience spanning several decades in public and private institutions in Texas, California and Switzerland, now combined with nearly a full term as the TAM-BCD CPI representative, I feel that I can soundly serve the needs of the PIs, both basic scientists and clinicians, as well as students and research staff.”

Texas A&M Health Science Center – College of Medicine & College of Nursing 

  • Bankaitis, Vytas (Molecular and Cellular Medicine, College of Medicine) – “As a well-funded investigator with an active research laboratory, and member of the CPI for the past three years, I am committed to the critical efforts of the CPI in enhancing the TAMU research environment. I have served as sitting member and Chair of numerous NIH study sections, external reviewer of NIH laboratories, external reviewer of high quality graduate programs, and also served as Chairman of the Department of Cell & Developmental Biology at the Univ. of North Carolina School of Medicine at Chapel Hill (and the various SOM-wide leadership committees that position entails). Those experiences bring unusual familiarity with issues surrounding research administration and infrastructure – a familiarity that is valuable for the CPI mission.”

Texas A&M Transportation Institute 

Texas A&M University School of Law  

  • Saab Fortney, Susan (Malpractice, Legal Ethics) – “I would be deeply honored to serve as a member of the Council of Principal Investigators. TAMU Law School administrators and faculty members recognize the rich opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration with other members of the TAMU community. In representing the law school on the CPI, I would focus on connecting law school faculty with other researchers working at our university and in the Texas A&M System. Most law professors do not engage in funded research for various reasons. I would like to help address obstacles, assist colleagues in pursuing their individual research agendas, and facilitate faculty members interested in obtaining external support and research partners.  In these efforts, I will draw on my background as Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development at Texas Tech University School of Law and my experience in securing external funding for research and programs related to legal ethics, legal education, and bioethics.  Above all, I see my role as a representative and servant assisting members of the law school and university in promoting and enhancing research and scholarly endeavors, as well as a culture and climate of ethical research.”

*The CPI defines a “PI” as a PI or Co-PI on at least one externally reviewed and funded project or grant within the previous three years. –see bylaws, Section 2. Representation, A. Definition of PI

**see bylaws Section 2. Representation, F. Allocation of Seats